(Adds details, forecast)
May 4 (Reuters) - U.S. fertilizer company Mosaic Co forecast higher phosphate and potash sales for the current quarter after it reported higher-than-expected first quarter sales.
The company’s net sales fell 21.7 percent in the first quarter to $1.67 billion, but beat the average analyst estimate of $1.56 billion.
Mosaic’s Brazil unit said in March that the country’s fertilizer sales had doubled in the first 10 weeks, compared with the volume seen in a similar period in 2015, with sales reaching 7.5 million tonnes considering deals from all suppliers.
Plymouth, Minnesota-based Mosaic forecast current-quarter phosphate sales of 2.3 million to 2.6 million tonnes, higher than the 2.2 million tonnes it sold in the first quarter.
The company said it expected potash sales of 1.9 million to 2.2 million tonnes in the current quarter, higher than the 1.5 million tonnes it sold in the first quarter.
Larger rival Potash Corp of Saskatchewan last month reported an 80 percent drop in profit and cut its full-year profit forecast on weak demand and lower prices.
Mosaic, which cut 8 percent of its workforce at a Canadian mine in October, on Wednesday lowered its 2016 capital expenditures to the range of $800 million to $900 million from its previous estimate of $0.9 billion to $1.1 billion.
Net profit attributable to the world’s largest producer of finished phosphate products fell nearly 13 percent to $256.8 million, or 73 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31 from a year earlier.
Excluding items, it earned 14 cents per share, in line with analysts’ average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. (Reporting by Manish Parashar in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Maju Samuel)